What is a townhouse? Talking about the townhouse, you may know that it is one of the property investments you choose this recent day. Like other properties, a townhouse’s value also increases every year. If you want to invest in this kind of property, it is better if you know more about townhouses and how to get the best one.
What Is a Townhouse?
What is a townhome or townhouse? It is a conjoined unit in the town where the owners will share the walls. Somehow, the design of the townhouses will look similar to row houses. You will know each unit in a row of townhouses by looking for the unit’s connection.
Generally, it operates like condos. Because of vertical walls, this property is more economical than condos. Different from condos, the owners get more freedom in using their space. The owners will also be responsible for the front and backyard.
Where to Find a Townhome?
The location of townhouses is commonly in an urban-to-suburban area. It is not downtown, but also it is not in the suburbs. According to Robert Palmer, people can find townhouses in the areas of transition between urban and suburban areas. If they go downtown, they will tend to see condos, not townhouses. The area itself makes this kind of property has a lower price than condos.
How do townhomes work? Here, you must know about HOA basics. An HOA or Homeowners Association will manage the townhouse development. It will maintain the outside and the public area of the townhouse. So, the owners are only responsible for the unit only. The average monthly fee ranges from $15 to $50.
As condos, the HOA of townhouses also establishes the rules for using common areas like pools, golf courses, courts, and many more. The main job of the association itself is to ensure all the residents can enjoy every facility in the neighborhood.
Townhouses vs. Condos
If you have got the answer of “what is a townhouse and a condo”, you may find some similarities between them. The first one is HOA, both of them have HOA as the management of the properties. Every month all of the tenants in condos and townhouses must pay certain fees. Not only townhouses but certain condos are also attached via the sharing walls.
However, a townhouse is a single-family dwelling with shared walls with another home. Meanwhile, condos are single units as part of a building or community. A townhouse is more private than a condo. The owners have the freedom to design the exterior. It is different from a condo where the exterior will be under HOA only.
HOA in a condo will maintain all of the things outside the units. On the contrary, the tenants in the townhouse must take care of the outdoors by themselves. Thus, in a condo, you only need to focus on the interior of the unit, the rest will be the responsibility of the HOA.
Townhouse vs Single Family House
After knowing about “what is a town house”, you also need to know the difference between a townhouse and a single-family house. If a townhouse has shared walls, a single-family home has no shared walls. The size is also generally bigger with more front and back area. Thus, a house will have a larger interior space.
In a townhouse, usually, there is a homeowner association that will oversee and maintain the common area. Because of it, the homeowners cannot decide about painting walls and other exterior decisions. The exterior will be the responsibility of the HOA.
Talking about the cost, living in a townhouse is cheaper than living in a house. There are not many expenses for repairing the exterior or other areas that will be under HOA’s responsibility. The owner of a townhouse only has responsibility for the interior. That is why it is a good choice for starters with a limited investment budget.
Buy a Townhouse: Is It Cheaper Than a House?
Compared to a house, the price of a townhouse is lower. The first reason is that the townhouse is sold without the land. The buyers will buy the building only. It is different from ordinary houses where the buyers should buy the land and the building.
Besides, the exterior space is limited, so it can decrease the price. If you look at the exterior of a house, the large yard will cost higher. Even the maintenance and utility bills of the exterior are the responsibility of the HOA, not the owner. The owners only need to pay the monthly fee.
However, somehow there are upgrades in the townhouse too. This cost must be quite high if it is a fancy upgrade. For example, there is an upgrade for the floor and roof. Another consideration is the HOA fees whether it is still affordable or not.
Pros and Cons of Townhouse
Why should you buy a townhouse? Buying a townhouse can be a good idea if you want to invest your money in property. Otherwise, you can buy it as your living space. Then, what are the pros and cons of having this kind of property? Find the answer below.
- Accessibility to amenities
Similar to condos, you will find access to homeowners’ association amenities in the townhouse. Those amenities are parks, pools, and gyms. You can use the amenities freely as long as you obey the rule while using them because those amenities are public amenities for other tenants.
- Change the interior and exterior
If in a condo you only allow changing the interior, in a townhouse, you can change both interior and exterior. That is why a townhouse is also defined as the blend of detached single-family homes and condos. If there are no HOA rules in the townhouse, you have the freedom to change the exterior of the house.
- More affordable
For first-time property buyers, choosing a townhouse is a great idea. It has a more affordable price than a single-family home that is sold with the land too. If you don’t mind getting less privacy by sharing walls with the neighbors, you can just go on to purchase this property.
- Less maintenance
Compared to a single-family home with a large yard, a townhouse is less maintenance. With fewer yards, you will have less work to maintain the house. With HOA, you don’t need to maintain the exterior of the house.
- Lack of privacy
As you know that townhouse has sharing walls with the neighbors, so you will have less or lack of privacy. You may find loud neighbors beside you. Also, you cannot do anything as you want to avoid noise that will bother your neighbors.
- HOA fees and rules
Since the townhouses are managed by an HOA, there will be HOA fees and rules. HOA fees will vary depending on each townhouse. This fee usually covers the amenities and other services for all tenants. Besides, there are usually some rules and restrictions in townhouses that all tenants must obey.
- Resale value
In several areas, a townhouse is sold for less price than a single-family home. It is one important point you must note. You must check the market of your townhouse and see whether buying the townhouse in that area is worth it. If it is not worth it, you can choose another area with better and more profitable investment.
- Smaller living space
A townhouse usually has multiple floors but every floor is not very large. For young people, a townhouse will give no problem living. However, comes a problem when the older home buyers live there. The small living space may not be for older people.
How to Buy a Townhouse?
For those who plan to purchase a townhouse, it is not only about how the design of the townhouse is. There are some other things that you must consider such as budget, the community amenities, the rule, neighbors, and your plan.
Considering your budget before purchasing any kind of property is important. You must know your budget and make sure that you can afford it. By considering the budget, you can decide whether purchasing a townhouse will be a good investment for you or not.
- Community amenities of the townhouse
Each townhouse may offer different community amenities. That is why there is nothing wrong when you check all of the facilities offered. You need to consider whether the amenities will suit your needs or not and in a good condition or not.
- The rule in the townhouse
Every townhouse will have an HOA or homeowners’ association. This HOA usually has some rules that all of the residents must follow. Each townhouse can have different rules from the others. That is why checking the rules becomes an important thing to do.
Talking to your potential neighbors is recommended before you decide to purchase a townhouse. You can ask many things about the townhouse including the community vibe there. Knowing more about the townhouse’s environment will make you choose the property easier.
- Mortgage Payment
If owning a townhouse by taking a mortgage is your decision, the mortgage payment also must be considered. In many states, mortgage payment usually is higher than rent. The taxes on your property also will be added to your mortgage. Also, when you put a down payment of less than 20%, you may need to pay for private mortgage insurance.
- HOA fees
Besides mortgage, there are HOA fees for all tenants in the townhouse as well. This fee is for utilities, garbage pickup, necessary repairs, and cable. If you have the mortgage payment on the list, you must add this fee too. Make sure that your financial condition can afford it.
- Your plan
Before deciding to purchase a townhouse, you must ask yourself about your long plan. Those questions include your long-term situation, expanding your family, and the dream house. After you find the answer that the townhouse is the best choice, you can purchase it.
Why are People Buying a Townhouse?
There are several reasons why people buy a townhouse. The first one is they use it as a living space. Another reason is they are an investor and want to create a business with space. Moreover, with the population and house price in the US now, many people tend to choose townhouses as their property because it is more affordable.
- Population and growth
According to Macrotrends.net, in 2020 the population in the US increased by 0.49%. In 2021, the number increased again by 0.31%. Then, in 2022, the population will reach 338,289,957 which will increase by 0.38% from 2021. As this population grows, there are more people who need living space, and one of the choices is townhouses.
- Housing price
Talking about the housing price in the US, it is $428,700 in the first quarter of 2022 with a 30% increase from 2021. This data is from Fool.com. The rise in the price is caused by the fall of the mortgage rate in 2020. Thus, it will be easier for people to take out a mortgage to buy property.
- Living cost
A high living cost in the US makes people choose more affordable living spaces like townhouses. The data from worldpopulationreview.com, the living cost for a household is $61,334 per year. Meanwhile, the median living cost for a single-family is $273,992 per year.
FAQs What Is a Townhouse
- What is a townhouse vs duplex
A duplex is a single-structure house with a single owner and with a private entrance. It is different from the townhouse that features some dwellings with shared walls. If you want a better private place, a duplex is a good choice. However, for affordable living space, you must choose a townhouse.
- What is a townhouse in NYC
If you have known about “what is a townhouse”, you may think that every city will provide many townhouses. However, townhouses are quite rare in New York City. From the data on Barnes-newyork.com, the residential transaction for a townhouse in this city is only 2%. However, when someone finds a townhouse in NYC, they will get superb real estate.